Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter dies at 78

DRAMATIC LIFEThe man who spawned the term ‘Pinteresque’ was a life-long campaigner for free speech and an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq

AFP , LONDON

Tributes poured in yesterday for Nobel Prize-winning British playwright Harold Pinter, one of theater’s biggest names for nearly half a century, who died aged 78.

Pinter, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, had been suffering from cancer, and died on Thursday, his wife Lady Antonia Fraser and his agent said, with a small private funeral and memorial service to be held at a date to be announced.

“He was a great, and it was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years. He will never be forgotten,” Fraser told the Guardian newspaper.

His agent, Judy Daish, said in an e-mail that he died of cancer.

“A life-long campaigner for free speech and an uncompromising opponent of the Iraq war ... he lived just long enough to hear the Prime Minister [Gordon Brown] announce the final withdrawal of British troops from Iraq,” the Independent daily said of Pinter.

Brown announced last week that British troops would leave Iraq by the middle of next year.

“These were among the many sub-plots in a life’s drama that took him on an eventful personal journey from the east end of London to its West End — a drama on which the curtain has now, sadly, fallen for the last time,” the Independent said.

Pinter’s plays included The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter and The Homecoming. His first play, The Room, appeared in 1957 and his breakthrough came with The Caretaker in 1960.

They often featured the slang language of his native east London as well as his trademark menacing pauses. The adjective “Pinteresque,” referring to such characteristics, is included in the Oxford English Dictionary.

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